Spring 2007

Elsa Chen

“Social Interventions and Contemporary Art in Taiwan”
Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
In the past 400 years, Taiwan has faced rapid and complex political, economic, social and cultural changes. These changes together constitute Taiwan’s unique and intriguing historical and cultural specificity, which would shed light on polemics that concern many people outside Taiwan. This course will explore how visual art and cultures made by contemporary Taiwanese artists engage with selected social, political and cultural issues in Taiwan, or, for overseas Taiwanese artists, in and from the places where they migrated to and live in.

Alessandra Di Maio

“Contemporary Narratives from the African Diaspora”
Department of Comparative Literature
Many scholars and artists from different regions of the planet locate in the Atlantic Ocean, with its slave trade routes, the foundations of the modern, capitalistic world. However, during the last decades, the Mediterranean Basin has become one of the fulcra of a mass-migration movement that engages a great number of nations. Many of the people involved in these migratory patterns are of African descent. Their diaspora has fundamentally contributed to the development of the global discourse on race and ethnicity. By comparing an array of literary and cultural texts from both the so-called Black Atlantic and the Mediterranean, this course analyzes the polyphonic narration of the African diaspora, while exploring in a comparative perspective issues such as race, class, color, minority, transnationalism, nomadism, hybridity, multiculturalism, sexuality and gender construction. The class meets once a week. Screenings of the films Besieged (B. Bertolucci), Jungle Fever (Spike Lee) and La Haine (Kassovitz) will be scheduled.

Babli Sinha

“Narrative and the English Modernist Novel”
Department of English

This course will investigate some of the central issues of narrative in the English modernist novel. Among the questions we will consider are the following: How did modernist novelists transform conventions of narrative form? How did these diverse writers posit new and “modern” representations of the self, challenge linear notions of history, boundaries of masculinity and femininity, of self and other? We will answer these questions through a study of literature and essays from the period, including works by Conrad, Joyce, Lawrence, Ford, and Woolf.